This Is Not Concrete, But An Aerial Picture Of A New Delhi!

The reality of India’s urbanization is a dense web of ever-increasing disparities and inefficient local authorities.

With 55% of the world’s population moving to urban areas, governments talk of smart cities. They believe that it is the only way to accommodate the ever-burgeoning population. And the capital city of New Delhi is the worst affected of them all with a population density among the highest in the world.

India is projected to over 400 million people to its already burgeoning urban population by 2050. The annual urban population growth up to 2015 was 1.1%, the highest among all major economies.

Alarming Lack Of Intense Focus On Needs Of Urban Areas Like New Delhi

An alarming feature of present-day governance is the absence of intense focus on the requirements of urban areas, especially the newly developing ones. And this time bomb will explode in the face of the coming generation that is unlucky enough to face it in 2050.

And New Delhi remains an eloquent example of the horror that will engulf urban India. Most vulnerable are the added regions, including the urban nightmare that is North East New Delhi.

The Trans Yamuna settlements of New Delhi, also known as East Delhi, have been overbuilt with houses and even large government structures like stadiums encroaching on the floodplains of the Yamuna.

The ever-expanding New Delhi is also emerging as a poverty center. It is among the ten largest urban clusters in the world, and that dubious distinction of being among the top 10 was reached way back in 2014.

Legislative Changes And Enhanced Capacity Can End The Urban Nightmare Of New Delhi

India’s cities are on the verge of collapsing. It is most evident in the state of New Delhi, its capital. And it has a lot to do with the rural bent of the Indian political economy.

Even as cities like New Delhi generate a massive proportion of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), very little investment is plowed back in return.

Today New Delhi chokes from rising pollution levels, largely due to its disappearing green cover that in the past had filtered out pollutants coming in from the burning of paddy stubble in nearby states. For the past couple of weeks, particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, hung heavy over land-locked New Delhi. These particles are so microscopic that they get lodged deep inside the lungs.

A dense cocktail of gases is trapped due to worsening air quality. It is close to a state of emergency as schools declare indefinite holidays, diesel vehicles are ordered off the roads, and firecrackers and construction work are halted in the city.

Residents cough and wheeze in the nightmare that constitutes the urban nightmare named New Delhi. A day after the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, which is a time for bursting firecrackers, the air quality in New Delhi was the worst in the world.

Even as New Delhi blindly stumbles towards an urban apocalypse, Beijing has admirably controlled its equally bad air pollution record.

The Chinese capital set in motion an ambitious action plan that banned new coal capacities shut down coal-powered heating in urban buildings, raised engine standards and fuel quality, and forced out old, polluting vehicles.

Beijing also encouraged its citizens to switch to electric vehicles and bicycles. Beijing even extended the strict measures beyond the city to encompass the suburbs surrounding Beijing.

Courts Express Concern Over Concretization Of New Delhi

The New Delhi High Court has taken cognizance of the concretization of part of the city and has instructed the Deputy Conservator of Forest in the city to act on the issues raised.

The concretization of green cover in New Delhi has been even more rampant amidst unplanned urbanization taking place. This is being done despite laws against the replacement of green cover and green corridors with concrete structures.

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